After your dog has undergone surgery, you will play a critical role in helping them to fully recover. Diligent post-operative care is very important to help your dog return to their normal routine as soon as possible. Here, our Hermitage vets share some tips with you about how to care for your dog after surgery.
Always Follow Surgery Post-Op Instructions
In the days leading up to and immediately following surgery, both you and your dog will likely be feeling some stress. However, understanding how to care for your canine companion after they settle in at home is critical to helping them get back to their routine as soon as possible.
After your dog's operation, your vet will give your clear and detailed instructions about how to care for your dog once they return home. Following these steps and making sure you don't stray from them will be critical to your dog's safe and speedy recovery. If you don't understand any of the recommended care instructions, make sure you get in touch with your vet. They will be happy to clarify.
Even if you arrive home and realize you’ve forgotten how to complete a specific step in your vet’s instructions, you can call our office to verify. Depending on the procedure required, the surgery will either be performed in-house or you’ll be referred to a professional veterinary surgeon near Hermitage.
Whether our veterinarians perform the procedure or need to refer you to a specialist, our team at Hermitage Animal Clinic in Hermitage is committed to providing your dog with attentive, high-quality care — and offering advice on at-home measures that can have a significant positive impact, such as post-op care.
Effects of General Anesthetic
Your vet will have used a general anesthetic to keep your dog unconscious and prevent them from feeling anything during their operation. The effects of this anesthesia may take some time to wear off after the procedure is performed.
Feeding Your Dog After Surgery
It's possible that your dog will have lost their appetite after their surgery because they are feeling nauseated. This is a common effect of undergoing anesthesia. It's worth considering offering them a light mean and only half of their usual portion. This meal could be chicken and rice or something else that is a bit easier on their stomach than store-bought kibbel.
Don't be alarmed if your dog is not eating after surgery. Your pup’s appetite should return within about 24 hours. You can then begin to gradually reintroduce their normal food. If it’s been more than 48 hours and your dog still won’t eat after surgery, contact your veterinarian (or vet surgeon if you’ve been referred to one). Loss of appetite can be a sign of infection.
Managing Your Dog’s Pain After Surgery
Following surgery, your veterinarian will take time to explain any pain relievers or medications they need to prescribe for your pet so you can prevent infection and manage post-surgery discomfort or pain.
Your vet will brief you on the dose required by your pet and how often to administer it safely. In order to prevent unnecessary pain as your pup recovers and reduce the risk of any side-effects, make sure you follow your vet's instructions as closely as possible. If you aren't sure of any of the instructions, ask follow-up questions.
Some dogs may be high-strung or experience anxiety post-surgery. If this is the case for your pooch, your vet may also prescribe anti-anxiety medication or sedatives to help your pet remain calm while they heal.
A word of caution: Never give your dog human medications without consulting your veterinarian first. While medications for people help us feel better, they are dangerous for our dogs and other pets.
Set Up a Quiet, Comfortable Space
Your dog will need some quiet and their own space to rest and recover after their surgery. This sport should have a soft bed with room for their to spread out well away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of your home.
A soft bed will be important in order to prevent pressure on sensitive or bandaged parts of your dog's body.
Dog Shaking or Coughing After Surgery
Have you noticed your dog shaking or coughing after surgery?
If your dog had a tube placed in their trachea while under the effects of anesthesia, they may have some irritation and have developed a slight cough as a result. A mild cough after surgery will usually fade over a couple days. However, keep an eye on it. If you notice that your dog's cough persists or becomes worse, contact your vet as soon as possible.
Shaking after surgery is typically an after-effect of anesthesia or pain control medication. Have your pet frequently eat small amounts of food, then hold them in your lap or sit next to them while speaking to them and giving lots of reassuring pets. The extra love and attention will help.
Restrict your Pet’s Movement
For a specified period after surgery, your vet may recommend limiting your dog’s movement and physical activity. Sudden stretching or jumping can disrupt recovery and cause incisions to reopen.
Depending on the surgery, you may not need to take significant measures such as complete cage or crate rest to confine your dog. Most dogs will be able to stay inside for a few days, making essential trips for bathroom breaks outdoors.
With that being said, you may find it a bit difficult to prevent your dog from jumping on furniture or climbing stairs. To help stop them from doing this, if you can't provide direct supervision, you may need to keep you dog in a safe place to stay comfortable.
If your dog happens to be recovering from orthopedic surgery, he or she may need to be confined to a laundry-sized or smaller pen with gradually increasing amounts of exercise as recovery progresses.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.